Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District

Fairfax County, Virginia

CONTACT INFORMATION: Our office is open 9AM-5PM M-F

TTY 711

12055 Government Center Parkway
Suite 905, Fairfax, VA 22035

Laura Grape,
Executive Director

Native Seedling Sale

2022 Seedling Sale Coming Soon! Sales Open March 1, 2022 at 10am!

The 2022 bare-root seedling sale features shrubs and small trees which are valuable to native bees and bear gorgeous flowers and fruits, and display beautiful colors. The fruits and flowers that these plants grow are important food sources to birds and pollinators! By planting these native species, you are directly contributing to the betterment of our environment. The plants in each package clean our water and air, prevent soil erosion, provide valuable habitat, and add beauty to your property. You can see this year's seedling ribbon colors and learn tips and tricks for planting your seedling in the Fairfax County Tree Basics Booklet from NVSWCD and the Fairfax County Tree Commission. We hope you will also explore other native plant sales occurring throughout the Northern Virginia region this spring, like those promoted by Plant NOVA Natives


Join our Mailing Lists

You can sign up to be notified when the seedling sale is announced or when rain barrels and composter workshops are available by following the links below:


The seedling sale pickup will be Friday, April 1 from 9am-4pm and Saturday, April 2, 2022 from 9am-12pm at Sleepy Hollow Bath and Racquet Club, 3516 Sleepy Hollow Road, Falls Church VA 22044. Any seedlings not collected at pickup will be donated to a reforestation project in Fairfax County. Seedlings must be purchased in advance, no day of sales or extras will be offered.

This year, we have a few changes to the seedling sale due to the COVID-19 pandemic:

  • Masks and social distancing will be required at all times
  • Hand sanitizer will be available
  • Please do not attend if you are experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19 or have been in contact with someone who does
  • No day-of sales or extras
  • We are conducting contract tracing so expect name, email, and phone number to be collected at pickup if your name is not on the purchase order
  • Any seedlings not collected at pickup will be donated to a reforestation project in Fairfax County
  • No refunds will be offered

We understand this is an unusual time. We look forward to seeing you at the 2022 seedling sale! Please contact NVSWCD prior to the seedling sale date should you require accommodations.


Meet the 2022 Seedlings

Tree-mendous Flowers Package

(6 Seedlings for $15)

2 American Hornbeam (Carpinus caroliniana)- Orange Ribbon 

American HornbeamThe American Hornbeam is an attractive, small tree of which the trunk and branches have ridges that resemble muscles. In early spring, yellow-green flowers (catkins) mature. The tree produces a small nutlet that is carried by a 3-lobed leafy bract. This tree does well in sandy or clay loams with high organic matter, regular moisture and slightly acidic soils. It thrives in heavy shade and is naturally found as an understory tree in forests. Use in naturalized areas or along streams or ponds. It is tolerant of drier sites, some sun, wind, and periodic flooding. Birds and small mammals eat the nutlets. Hardiness Zone: 3-9.


Serviceberry2 Canadian Serviceberry (Amelanchier canadensis)- White Ribbon

Serviceberry is one of the first shrubs to flower in the spring with small, white, and slightly fragrant blooms. It is a multi-trunked shrub or small tree with a rounded crown and grows around 15 feet tall. It forms root suckers, and if they are allowed to grow, it will result in the plant growing as a shrub rather than a tree. Edible fruits, similar to blueberries in appearance and flavor, are enjoyed by birds and the plant is host to many species of butterflies and moths. It does well in a variety of light conditions and in a broad range of areas, from lawns, patios, and ponds to meadows and woodlands. Hardiness Zone: 4-8.


2 Winterberry Holly (Ilex verticillata)- Red Ribbon

WinterberryWinterberry is a deciduous tree that may grow 10 to 15 feet tall, though it often occurs in the wild as a shrub. The common name comes from the red berries that provide winter interest and sometimes persist into early spring, if the birds don't feast on them before then. To obtain beautiful berries, the plants must be properly cross-pollinated. One male plant will be sufficient to fertilize a dozen female plants within a 40-foot radius. Inconspicuous, white flowers are favored by bees. Winterberry does well in full sun to part shade and tolerates wet and poorly drained areas. Hardiness Zone: 3-9.


Un-bee-lieveable Blooms Package

(6 Seedlings for $15)

2 Eastern Redbud (Cercis candensis)- Pink Ribbon

Eastern Redbud

This beautiful tree stretches to 20-35’ in height. The eastern redbud grows in part to full shade paired with dry to moist soils. The spring weather ushers in delicate pink and lavender flowers which are sure to delight. Redbud changes colors in the fall yet maintains its beauty by transforming into a golden yellow. Butterflies, small mammals, and songbirds benefit from the tree, which also fixes nitrogen in the soil. Hardiness Zone: 5-9.




2 Indigo Bush (Amorpha fruticosa)- Purple Ribbon

Indigo BushIndigo Bush is a deciduous shrub that has narrow spikes of fragrant, deep purple or blue flowers with gold stamens. The blooming period lasts 2-3 weeks between April and June. It can spread aggressively by suckers and by seed in rich, moist to wet environments, making it an excellent choice for stream bank stabilization and erosion control. It is tolerant of a large range of soil types. Use this plant in a woodland or bog garden, along a pond margin, or a stream bank. Plant in full sun to partial shade in moist to dry soil. Indigo Bush is very attractive to bees and is a host plant for several species of butterflies, moths, and beetles. Hardiness Zone: 4-9.


2 Silky Willow (Salix sericea)- Yellow Ribbon

Silky WillowSilky willow is a native shrub that is naturally found in swamps and along rivers. It is a fast growing, multi-stemmed shrub that rarely reaches more than 12' at maturity. The common name "silky willow" is a reference to the hairy, "silky" undersides of its leaves. These are green, blade or lance-like, and turn to yellow in fall. The flowers (catkins) are also silky. Silky willow prefers slightly acidic, moist to wet soils. It is very adaptable to light conditions ranging from full-sun to open-shade. The blooming period occurs during late spring and the flowers are very attractive to bees. Hardiness Zone: 4-8.



Hardiness Zone

The USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map shows 10 different zones, each of which represents an area of winter hardiness for plants. Fairfax County falls into zones 6b-7a. All of our seedlings are suited for planting in the greater Washington, DC area.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Some of our most frequently asked Seedling Sale questions and helpful answers from NVSWCD staff.


What’s the skinny on the Seedling Sale?

The Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District holds a Native Tree and Shrub Seedling Sale each spring. The theme and exact species vary from year to year. In 2022, the seedlings will be available for pickup with COVID safety guidelines at the Sleepy Hollow Bath and Racquet Club in Falls Church on Friday April 1, 2022 from 9am-4pm and Saturday April 2, 2022 from 9am-12pm.

When should I place my order?

Orders for 2022 open on March 1, 2022 at 10am. Please order early! We often sell out of packages in the first week of ordering. Please limit your order to three packages so that others may enjoy the seedling sale as well. Remember, each package includes 6 seedlings, each of which needs to get in the ground soon after pickup. 

Are there extras? Can I just show up at pickup?

No, in-person sales will not be available this year in an effort to reduce crowding at the pickup to be compliant with COVID safety precautions.

Can my spouse/child/parent/neighbor/best friend pick up my order for me?

Yes. They will need to have your first and last name and a generally honest disposition. A printout of the order confirmation is helpful but not required. At pickup, the contact's name, phone number, and email will be required to comply with contact tracing. We understand this is an unusual time. Please contact NVSWCD prior to the seedling sale date should you require accommodations.

What happens if I miss the pickup date?

Don’t miss the pickup date! If you can’t make it, please send a friend! (See above.) We understand this is an unusual time. Please contact NVSWCD prior to the seedling sale date should you require accommodations. There will be no seedling order pickups after the sale. If your order is not collected on the pickup date, it will be donated to a reforestation project in Fairfax County. Seedling sale purchases are nonrefundable.

How large are the packages?Small boy and girl hold seedling packages

Smaller than you might think! These are first- and second-year bare-root trees and shrubs, which means they are small and come without soil. We add a colored ribbon, put together each package, and wrap the roots in wet newspaper and a plastic bag to keep them moist. In the photo at right, each child is holding one package. Each package of 6 seedlings bundled together is typically 1-3 feet long and 4-6 inches wide.

What were last year's ribbon colors?

Check out our new page, Previous Years' Seedling Ribbon Colors, for species names and the color of the ribbon (flagging tape) we used to identify it. You can see this year's seedling ribbon colors and tips and tricks for planting your seedling in the Fairfax County Tree Basics Booklet from NVSWCD and the Fairfax County Tree Commission. 

What should I bring with me for pickup?

A small bucket or basket. You don’t want the package to tip over and spill water on your backseat. Don’t have a bucket? A sturdy double paper bag or large trash bag will do the job.

How do I care for them?

You can learn about bare root seedling care (as well as other tree-related advice) in the Fairfax County Tree Basics Booklet from NVSWCD and the Fairfax County Tree Commission. Keep the roots moist and plant your seedlings as soon as possible. We provide a planting guide when you pick up your seedlings. Dig a hole wider than it is deep. We recommend watering throughout the summer for the first year, especially if your tree or shrub is in direct sunlight. Fertilizer is not needed. A light top-dressing of leaf mulch is optional. 

Worried about deer browse? In this year's packages, American Hornbeam and Indigo Bush would be considered to be deer resistant. You can learn more about deer tolerant native plants and protecting your seedlings from deer browse in this resource from Plant NOVA Natives. 

How fast will they grow?

The seedlings typically start out in a dormant state, but when cared for properly, they can grow into lovely landscape specimens faster than you think. Each species has a different growing speed. Since it can be difficult to protect a small first-year seedling from mowers, deer, rabbits and – occasionally – human feet, we include two of every species in the packages.

Rarely – once every several years – we have had a supplier issue (not VDOF) where a large number of seedlings of a particular shrub or tree have not survived. In those cases, we give feedback to the supplier and monitor their seedlings in following years to ensure that it is not a repeat occurrence. Even when that happens, we believe the benefit and low cost we offer by purchasing in bulk outweighs the risk. It’s still a great deal!

Where do you get the seedlings?

Typically we get most of our seedlings from the Virginia Department of Forestry. We like to support our state forestry department and help increase demand for native trees and shrubs. We also purchase seedlings from other neighboring states and private nurseries.

What are the funds used for?

Good question! First, the funds cover the cost of the seedlings and associated program costs. NVSWCD uses any leftover funds to support educational programs, including the high school Envirothon competition, biological stream monitoring, storm drain education, Youth Conservation Camp, Science Fair awards, and other outreach activities. Thank you for supporting these efforts through the Seedling Sale!

Have more questions? Feel free to contact us.

Fairfax Virtual Assistant